Jaguar being kept in captivity on Essequibo Coast
The country’s Wildlife authorities are allowing an Essequibo businessman to keep a Jaguar in captivity without the necessary permission but say they will act to remove it if he doesn’t comply with guidelines he has been given.
It is uncertain how long the Jaguar has been caged and kept in captivity, but residents say it has been there for years. A video of the Jaguar surfaced Tuesday on the Facebook page of a popular Essequibo resort.
Residents told the News Room that the Jaguar can be seen by those who go to buy spare parts at the businessman’s place at Fisheries Street, Lima.
The Jaguar is a protected species in Guyana under Regulations 4(7) of the Wildlife Conservation, Management and Sustainable Use Regulations (2019).
Additionally, under Section 69 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2016), it is an offence to have wildlife in possession or display to the public without the necessary authorization.
“Any person who violates this will be liable to pay a fine of $750,000 to $2M and face imprisonment of up to three years,” the Commission pointed out.
Back in May last, the Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission (GWCMC) had taken possession of a Jaguar that was trapped by an Essequibo resident and released it back into the wild.
Permission of the commission is required in order to trap animals. Further, if a Jaguar is trapped or killed for any reason, a report should be made to the nearest police station or the Commission.
The Commission has been aware of the entrapment of the Jaguar, but an official told the News Room that the businessman was allowed to keep it given the amount of years he has been holding it.
The businessman does not have expressed permission, but the Wildlife authorities have allowed him to continue to keep it because of a number of reasons, one being for its own continued existence.
The official told the News Room that an animal kept in captivity from young would find it difficult to survive if it is released back into the wild as it has been fed all its life and would not know how to hunt.
If it is released in the wild, it could seek out food in communities and would pose a threat to persons, becoming a nuisance animal which would be eventually killed.
The businessman has been given guidelines to improve the manner in which the animal is kept and ways in which the Jaguar’s senses could be stimulated since a trapped animal would not develop senses on its own given that it’s not in its natural habitat.
The official told the News Room that the businessman has been given a timeline to comply and if he fails to comply the Jaguar would be removed.
The authorities have not been anxious to put animals at the Georgetown zoo, which has of recent been converted into a wildlife rescue centre.